The Monastery of the Sacré-Coeur
Old people's home of Fort-Manoir
It is in the country cottage of La Verrière, that the day the community of Norbertines of the Mesnil-Saint-Denis saw. Our sisters were indeed temporarily installed there on July 2, 1889. Very quickly become not very functional, the moniales left the country cottage a few months only after their installation, for an old middle-class house located in the hamlet of Mousseau. It is here, October 19 1889 that the Bishop of Versailles, Monseigneur Goux, canonically set up the "Couvent du Sacré-Coeur des Tertiaires Norbertines régulières".
It is to Marie Adèle Alexandra Husson-Carcenac, girl of great family and great fortune, who tested the need to give up all her advantages of her birth to devote itself to God, that we owe this vast project, supported by his mother Pauline Carcenac and of Monseigneur Théophile Cosnilleau (1838-1915), chaplain of the castle and Camérier of His Holiness the Pope, and encouraged by the Reverend Père Joseph Lanfranc de Panthou, about Prémontré, Sous-Prieur of the Abbey of Mondaye to the diocese of Bayeux, like by the Reverend Père Joseph Villekens, abbot of Mondaye and by Paul Goux, bishop of Versailles.
Construction was hardly the one year business: the first stone was bénite on April 10, 1894 by the Father Godefroid Madelaine (1842-1932), prior of highly skilled Mondaye then abbot of the Saint-Michel de Frigolet, and the inauguration was made on July 23, 1895 by the bishop of Versailles. The construction of the building was entrusted to Victor Hue de la Colombe (Paris 1833-Dinan 1922) architect of the town of Paris with which we owe the Markets of Besancon, the houses of the Market of Versailles and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne d' Auray, without forgetting the chapel of the castle of the Mesnil-Saint-Denis whom the Husson family made build ten years earlier.
The monastery was then a modern monastery with vast buildings comprising classrooms and dormitories to the destination of orphan, of pretty gardens, a farm, meadows, and in the wing reserved for the Sisters, all the severe apparatus of the cloîtrés convents: covered galleries which form cloister, sewing rooms, cells, closed garden and a pretty chapel of Gothic style. Wanting to enter fully the spirit of saint Norbert, Révérende Mother fondatrice, Marie Adele Alexandra Husson-Carcenac in religion Marie Mère de la Nativité, decided to annex an orphanage at the Community. Opened at the time of the foundation it sheltered 18 orphan for 18 Sisters, each sister being the spiritual mother of the one of them. In 1903, the moniales underwent the laws against the religious Congregations.
An ordinance of the bishop of Versailles raised the fence in 1919. During the period of the Large War, the Monastery of Mousseau was transformed into Temporary Hospital, for the war wounded. The Sisters opened an ambulance of 50 beds in the room of the orphanage, as well as a free dispensary for the patients of the Mesnil-Saint-Denis and the surroundings. This ambulance was constant financially by Mrs Pauline Husson-Carcenac.
In 1940, the 40 Sisters dealt with 50 children. In 1945, the Monastery was tiny room to the statute of congregation of the regular Third-Order of Prémontré. In 1948, the Sisters wrote new constitutions entitled "Constitutions de la Congrégation des Religieuses Tertiaires Réguliers de l'ordre de Prémontré dites du Mesnil-Saint-Denis". In 1956, the sisters were forced to sell their monastery become too tall. This one was bought by Oblates de l'Assomption, was founded in 1845 by the Father of Alzon, and installed there a convalescent home for their Sisters old. During more than twenty years, they accomodate groups of young people and less young people of the area for days of relaxation and retirement.
In 1975, the house is approved by the DDASS. In 1982, the community is entrusted to Soeur Genevieve-Marie, who proposes a plan of restoration which also envisages an enlarging to allow the reception of laic people. Significant work begins in 1991 and the old monastery can shelter today 65 people in superb buildings. The inauguration was made on October 28, 1995 by the former Prime Minister Edouard Balludur accompanied by his Marie-Josèphe wife, in the presence of many personalities of the political scene, of which the prefect Claude Erignac. Each year in May, of the "Journées d'Amitié" are organized with the profit of Association Notre-Dame de l'Assomption.
© Olivier FAUVEAU - 2001